VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – An association representing 5,000 staff members at UBC is calling on the university’s president to cancel a controversial speech scheduled for this weekend.
The Association of Administrative and Professional Staff wrote in a letter that the event will provide a “platform for bigoted, anti-transgender hate speech.”
The event features Jenn Smith who is an outspoken critic of SOGI 123, a teaching resource that provides guidance to teachers on how to speak to students about sexual orientation and gender identity in an inclusive, respectful and age-appropriate way.
The University has defended it’s decision citing a commitment to free speech.
The association says that free speech has limits and that Smith propagates hate speech.
“AAPS wholeheartedly rejects that argument and is frankly disappointed that the University would characterize the spreading of hate speech against transgender individuals as a matter of free speech,” the letter says.
5000 staff members @UBC are backing this letter written to @ubcprez for an anti-sogi event planned on campus. Joey Hansen says some staff feel unsafe with the event going on. He says the argument of free speech is questionable when some consider the event hate speech. @NEWS1130 pic.twitter.com/KweP8wWmZS
— Taran Parmar (@Tarankparmar) June 21, 2019
Joey Hanson, the executive director of the association, says the letter was drafted as a way to communicate what he heard from employees to the administration.
“Members had expressed concern that hosting the talk — given the content — created an unsafe work environment, created feelings of distress for them,” he says.
Hanson added that holding the event on campus undermines the university’s commitment to safety and inclusivity for LGBTQ students, faculty and staff.
“It sends a terrible message, frankly,” he says.
Trinity Western University and Douglas College have recently cancelled speeches by Smith.Letter-Ono-SOGI-2019-05-19